Are You Serious? and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Are You Serious?: How to Be True and Get Real in the Age of Silly Hardcover – June 28, 2011


See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover, June 28, 2011
$1.07 $0.01

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Image
Looking for the Audiobook Edition?
Tell us that you'd like this title to be produced as an audiobook, and we'll alert our colleagues at Audible.com. If you are the author or rights holder, let Audible help you produce the audiobook: Learn more at ACX.com.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (June 28, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061766038
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061766039
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,492,878 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“One of the country’s most eloquent and acid-tongued cultural critics.” (New York Times Magazine )

“The scourge of literary cant.” (Ross Douthat, New York Times Book Review )

“A wizard of macho outrage.” (The Economist )


“A rare bird among American critics...boisterous and erudite.” (London Times Literary Supplement )


“One of the heroic few.” (The Guardian )


“A fluent and culturally voracious critic, Siegel writes a mean and memorable sentence.” (Financial Times )

From the Back Cover

A provocative critique of modern frivolity and a guide to being serious in an unserious age

We used to live in a world run by serious people: politicians and religious leaders, writers and artists, journalists and academics, lawyers and business executives, who approached their work with maturity and mindfulness. Today it seems as if most of these figures have all but disappeared, leaving our country and our culture in the hands of amateurs, buffoons, and professional clowns.

Yet, according to Lee Siegel, seriousness has been elusive in every age, and every age has its own particular obstacles to living seriously. In a unique combination of fiction, memoir, history, social criticism, satire, and spiritual reflection, Siegel illuminates our contemporary distractions of profit, popularity, and instant pleasure as we search for ways to be serious in culture, in politics, and in everyday life.

Are You Serious? is a thoughtful and enlightening exploration of seriousness in all its incarnations, from the heights of intellectual endeavor to the depths of political conflict to how the word itself is used in ordinary situations, from romance to business. Siegel lays bare the forces in modern life that create the silliness all around us, and he describes how seriousness may be attained through the qualities of attention, purpose, and continuity, in satisfying lives forged in bonds of work and love.


More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By E. Giese on August 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The dust jacket for this book sounds as though it might be a political polemic: "Today it seems as if most of [the serious people] have all but disappeared, leaving our country and our culture in the hands of amateurs, buffoons, and professional clowns." What Siegel does, though, is far more interesting: he raises some profound questions about our popular culture and its limitations. He does not, though, provide any convincing answers for the conundrum he posits.

The question that Siegel ultimately asks is whether our popular culture hasn't made it impossible to be a truly serious person in public life. His first chapter is the most theoretically intriguing, where he illustrates his points with some fairly obscure Englishmen around the turn of the century, and claims that the disintegration of Christianity as an intellectually defensible foundation for a serious life left a big hole in western civilization, one that for a while was filled by what Siegel calls "high seriousness."

What follows is a number of meandering chapters that resemble a Montaigne essay (in organization if not quite in eloquence) on various topics related to seriousness. Along the way, Siegel tries to define seriousness in a quirky, almost technical way--it can be confusing in a casual reading. But there remains a point underneath it all.

Siegel asserts that we as a society crave seriousness, but it also seems that our entertainment-based culture is so razor-sharp at ridiculing any inconsistencies that it is impossible to be taken seriously for long. He even claims that the chattering classes were relieved after September 11 2001, because it brought about the end of a "crisis of irony" where no one was being serious at all--a kind of culture-wide capitulation to Seinfeld.
Read more ›
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Nathan Ryan on December 15, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
devoured this book in a day. While it meandered a bit in places - especially in the chapter on politics - the Finale redeemed its shortcomings. "Life [itself] as a calling" - now that is something I can take with me. Thank you for a profound extended essay on a problem that has bothered me - however vaguely - since I entered adulthood 15 years ago.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 8 people found the following review helpful By C. Jordan on March 23, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book seemed more concern with the semantics of the word "serious" than it did with the important issues of the day with which the term might be associated. Some interesting history but the book did not live up to its potential.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Customer Images

Search